It takes teamwork to be successful. Drew Fulmer’s barn at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona currently has over twenty horses. That of course is way too much work for one man. Drew has three grooms and they are the best. We couldn’t do it alone and the grooms are an integral part of the team.
My favorite groom and the one who gives me the most information is Eroy but we just call him “E”. He has a wonderful way with the horses and has worked with Drew for many years. Originally from Mexico, E has been in the US for years and started out in Chicago. His dad worked for Drew Fulmer for a number of years, along with other family members. Since his family is here in Phoenix, it is only natural that E would come here too.
E is a good family man. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children. E also told me that another baby is on the way, and he learned that they are actually expecting twins — that’s a double blessing! E works hard to save for his family and said his family also has beautiful property in Durango, Mexico. He described the area to me and said it has a river and is totally beautiful. He has a brother in Mexico who manages the family’s cattle business there. E also said his property is close to property owned by Toby Keith — Wow — I thought that was totally cool.
E’s workday starts at 4:50 a.m. when he gets to the barn. First he makes sure that all the horses have water, then he gets ready making the horses their breakfast. Oats are cooked for the horses in a large cooker. E says he is glad for the cooker especially on the bitter cold days we have experienced recently.
After the horses are fed, the next chore is to get the horses exercised. He carefully gets them to the walker so they can get ready for the day’s training. Some horses will gallop or get work-outs. Some horses will race. But all the horses need the walking in the mornings to get loosened up after their night’s rest.
Here’s a picture of E cleaning the area.
Of course E isn’t doing all this work himself. His brother, Romero also works as a groom. Here you can see Romero getting one of my horses named Mansion Mayhem ready for the walker.
Romero is also a family man with two children. Additionally, he has a training license. As a young professional trainer, Romero doesn’t have a lot of his own horses, but he has a beautiful filly named Rock U Up. Rock U Up won two allowance races this season. She is a good bet, so if you see her on the program, put up a few bucks and keep your fingers crossed with us.
The brothers work together in harmony getting all the horses ready for the trainer to arrive and proceed with the day’s training schedule. Drew Fulmer has a schedule for all the horses and also takes a great deal of time checking their health. It is a difficult, time-consuming job and the grooms help with moving the horses and reporting anything they might see that isn’t quite right with any horse.
Besides feeding the horses and getting them on the walker, the stalls have to be cleaned daily. Drew Fulmer is somewhat of a germ-a-phobic, so a clean barn is a requirement. This is especially important to the health and well-being of the horses. Drew has an exceptionally clean barn and doesn’t tolerate anything less than proper maintenance of the facility and equipment. I am of course happy for this because it is a health environment for everyone.
The grooms also escort the horses to the paddock on race day. After E gets the horse ready in the Paddock with the trainer and riders are up, the horses are led to the track where the pony rider takes over. Then E makes his way to the Grand Stands. One of the best times I have spent with E is when we sit together in the Grand Stand and cheer our horse to a win. What an exciting experience and having someone to share it with makes it all the better. Then E goes back to the track to bring the horse to the winner’s circle where I stand admiring our horse and of course the team members who made this experience a reality for me.
The third groom is Manny. Manny takes care of ponying the horses. He is usually around later in the day and he always manages to make fun of me. He says the horses all know me and are just waiting for a fresh supply of carrots. I never go to the barn without carrots or peppermints for the horses. I took the other pictures early, so at the moment, I don’t have a picture of Manny available. I will however get a picture and when I do, I’ll update this post to include his picture. Manny is a very pleasant and good natured individual, also an excellent horseman. He pony rides our horses when they need the exercise, but are not ready for a full gallop. Manny also escorts our horses to the gate on race day. He is an essential member of the team and helps keep the horses relaxed before the race on their way to the starting gate.
Without individuals like E, Romero and Manny, we would not be able to succeed. They are valuable employees and good friends. I am pleased to have these men working with Drew and can’t thank them enough for everything they do for the horses and for their welcoming attitude toward me.